For that matter, what is a dangling participle? Those of you who have followed the blog for a while know that I periodically gather questions people ask on Twitter with an eye toward writing a larger response here. Some questions simply require more space or finesse than 280 characters will allow. This isn’t one of them. But I’m going to do it anyway, because it has been too damned long since you friendly folks have heard from me! As you can see from the first sentence, the question of the day is, “What is a dangling participle?”
Raise your hand if you’ve heard the following phrase: If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you’ve certainly come across this doozy of a saying. You may even think you know what it means. But until you’re faced with having to drastically reduce the word count of your manuscript, you’ve only scratched the surface.
[Updated 5/09/2014] Welcome to part two of my two-part series on Revision. If you haven’t read part one yet, I recommend it, and not in an entirely self-serving way. In this post I’m going to dig into the second half of my Common Revision Checklist, and I’m going to assume you’re already familiar with the first half. Today we’re going to take a look at the following topics: Commonly misused words/expressions Filter words “Something of Something” constructions Superfluous Movement Verbs Passive voice Dialog attributions Superfluous “That” usage Confusing “ing” constructions
[Updated 5/09/2014] In an earlier post titled Revising Your First Draft: The First Read-Through I teased you all with mention of a Revision Checklist and going into a deeper dive of my own revision process. Before I go there, I want to caution you: if you are still in the middle of writing your first draft, you do not want to read this post. You heard me. If you’re still producing your first draft, close this browser tab and back away from the blog. Better still, bookmark this post for later review…then step away from the blog. Ok. We should be alone now. If any of those “first drafters” come back, someone nudge me or something. We can’t have them poking around here …
[Revised 02/10/2015] What have I gotten myself into? If you’re in the middle of your first draft, you’ve probably asked yourself that question several times by now. Writing that first draft can feel like running a sprint at times. Your head is full of ideas for setting, characterization, dialog, plot, and interesting scenes. Thoughts are flowing so fast that your fingers can’t keep up. Putting the words on paper is like a mental dump of information. Did you capture it all? Did you get that last thought translated from brain signals to keyboard strokes? You’re not certain, but if you stop to look back you just might miss that next thought that’s bubbling to the surface.